SANParks Wild Card – all you need to know

Nature-loving South Africans and visitors can experience the beauty and diversity of South Africa and its national parks without it costing them a fortune, by making use of the SANParks Wild Card. This card gives free daily entrance to national and selected regional parks.

Your Wild Card is surely the best way to explore Southern Africa’s wild spaces, as you’ll get 365 days of unlimited access to the parks and reserves in the cluster of your choice.

 

What is a Wild Card

Being in possession of a Wild Card gives a person a year’s unlimited entry to more than 80 national parks, reserves and resorts around Southern Africa, depending on the type of cluster you choose when buying the Wild Card.

While entrance or daily conservation fees to visit national parks, like the world-renowned Kruger National Park, currently (until 31 October 2021) cost R105 per adult South African citizen and resident with an ID and R52 per child, R210 or R105 respectively for a SADC national with a passport and R424 or R212 for all other visitors, holders of Wild Cards do not pay the daily conservation fee.

Wild Card membership is linked to a main card holder and is based on a selected Cluster and Category. The Cluster defines the parks applicable to a specific membership, and the Category is defined by number persons linked to the membership – either an individual, couple or family.

International Wild Card Membership is available for international guests.

 

How does the SANParks Wild Card work?

Wild Card membership is valid for 365 days from date of purchase and can be bought by an individual, couple or family. A family is seen as any two adults and up to five children under the age of 18 years.

Instead of paying conservation fees every time you visit a national park, card holders in possession of a paid up Wild Card, get free access all year round.

Wild Card membership for the local clusters is only available to South African and SADC Nationals while international visitors may only purchase an International All Parks Cluster unless they are in possession of a valid South African residency or work permit.

Wild Card Programme membership is linked to a primary member, and where applicable to his or her partner and or dependent(s). Membership cannot be transferred, and the details of a partner or dependents may only be changed every year at the time of annual membership renewal.

Access to any park will only be granted if valid identification is presented in the form of an Identity Document or Passport, together with your new Wild Card or valid proof of membership.

Valid proof may include a Confirmation Letter or Application Completion Request.

 

What to do when visiting parks and reserves with a Wild Card

You will be allowed access to partner parks with valid proof of identity plus one of the following:

 

Which Conservation Parks, Reserves and Resorts can be accessed with a Wild Card

Parks and reserves that can be visited with Wild Cards include 21 parks managed by SANParks, 24 managed by CapeNature, 25 managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, five managed by Msinisi Resorts and Game Reserves and three managed by Big Game Parks of Swaziland.

SANParks national parks

Addo Elephant National Park, Agulhas National Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Bontebok National Park, Camdeboo National Park, Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Karoo National Park, Kgalagadi National Park, GRNP: Knysna Section, Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe National Park, Marakele National Park, Mokala National Park, Mountain Zebra National Park, Namaqua National Park, Richtersveld National Park, Table Mountain National Park, Tankwa Karoo National Park, GRNP: Tsitsikamma Section, West Coast National Park and the GRNP: Wilderness Section.

 

The Cape Nature national parks and reserves 

Cederberg Wilderness Area, Bird Island Nature Reserve, Rocherpan Nature Reserve and the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area in the West Coast area; Limietberg Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve and Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve in the Winelands area; Marloth Nature Reserve, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Walker Bay Nature Reserve, Salmonsdam Nature Reserve, De Mond Nature Reserve, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve and Boosmansbos Wilderness Area in the Overberg; Anysberg Nature Reserve, Swartberg Nature Reserve, and Gamkaberg Nature Reserve in the Cape Karoo area; Outeniqua Nature Reserve, Goukamma Nature Reserve, Keurbooms River Nature Reserve and Robberg Nature Reserve in the Garden Route and Little Karoo area.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife parks and reserves

Amatigulu, Chelmsford Dam, Cobham, Didima – Cathedral Peak, Garden Castle, Giants Castle Nature Reserve, Harold Johnson, Highmoor, Hilltop – Hluhluwe Game Reserve, Mpila – iMfolozi Game Reserve, Ithala Game Reserve, Kamberg Nature Reserve, Lotheni Nature Reserve, Midmar Dam, Monks Cowl Nature Reserve, Ndumo Game Reserve, Oribi Gorge, Pongola, RNNP Visitor Centre, Rugged Glen, Spioenkop Dam, Umlalazi Nature Reserve, Vernon Crookes, Wagendrift Dam and Weenen Game Reserve.

Msinisi Resorts & Game Reserves

Albert Falls Dam, Bon Accorde, Hazelmere Dam, Inanda Dam and Nagle Dam in the Pietermaritzburg area.

Big Game Parks of Swaziland

Hlane Royal National Park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Game Reserve.

 

How do I get a Wild Card?

New Wild Card membership can be bought and paid for online on the official SANParks website or purchased from applicable Conservation Partner gates or receptions at rest camps.

 

Purchasing new Wild Card membership  

SANParks does not issue or post out any physical Wild Cards anymore, since the organisation is in the process of introducing a digital version of the card. The digital card will be more environmentally friendly and will assist in transitioning to contactless transactions as a safety measure post the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the meantime, a Confirmation Letter plus valid proof of identification will be sufficient to gain entry at parks.

South African Temporary or Permanent Residency or Work Permit holders must send copies of the permit and their passports with their name and application in order for their Wild Card membership to be activated.  Applications can be faxed to +27 (0)86 502 6704 or emailed to [email protected].

If you intend to purchase your Wild Card at a park or reserve, you should first check whether the required gate or reception sells membership before travelling to the park.

If you have purchased your membership online, you will be sent a Purchase Confirmation Letter, which will contain an application and receipt number.

 

Renewing Wild Card membership. 

If you already had bought Wild Card membership and you want to renew it after a year or update your Wild Card details if it has changed, you can do it on the official SANParks website. You can search for your profile by completing a minimum of two search fields on the relevant page and you should find it.

Your Wild Card confirmation letter plus proof of identification will grant you access even if you don’t have the card itself.

If you have renewed your membership, your card will be updated the next time you access a park, thus you can gain access to a park with your Wild Card or confirmation letter as well as valid proof of identification.

 

The cost of Wild Card membership

The cost of a Wild Card depends on the membership category and the cluster for which it is purchased.

 

Categories of Wild Card membership

Individual cards 

This type of card is hold by one adult. Membership is non-transferable, which means that the ownership of the card cannot be changed during the course of a membership cycle of 1 year.

A card for a couple

This type of card can be held by a maximum of two people. These two people can either be two adults or one adult and one child. A child is seen as anyone under the age of 18 at the time the membership is purchased. At least one of the children will be required to show proof of his or her ID.

Membership is also non-transferable, which means that no person can be changed during the course of a membership cycle of 1 year. Partner details can only be changed once a year with renewal of membership.

A card for a family

A family of a maximum of seven people can get membership as a family. Such membership is limited to either one adult and six children or to two adults and five children. Anyone under the age of 18 at the time membership is purchased, is seen as a child. At least one of the children must be able to show proof of his or her ID.

When making a purchase or renewal, a child that is 18 years old or older, but still lives at home, can remain on the Family Card if there is only one adult member on a family card. The child can be a partner on the card, otherwise the person must obtain an Individual Wild Card for him or herself.

A child that is over 18 and certified as mentally challenged and dependent on parents or a guardian, can remain a child member on a family card. Proof of his/her condition is required when making the purchase.

Membership is non-transferable, which means that no person can be changed during the course of a membership cycle of 1 year.

 

Clusters for which Wild Card membership can be purchased

Wild Card membership can be bought for free access to all the beforementioned parks, called All Parks Cluster membership, or only for access to any of the following clusters:

International visitors can only purchase an International All Parks Cluster membership.

The following table shows the current cost (valid until 31 October 2021) of membership according to the different categories for the different clusters:

Clusters Categories
Individuals Couples Family
Any one person Any 2 persons Maximum of 7 persons, maximum 2 adults
All Parks Cluster – Access to 80+ Parks and Reserves which are included in the SANParks, Msinsi, EKZNWildlife, Cape Nature and Swazi Clusters Parks. R720.00 R1,190.00 R1,450.00
SANParks Cluster – Access to all 21 of SANParks National Parks R690.00 R1,120.00 R1,345.00
Msinsi Cluster – Access to all 6 of Msinsi’s Resorts and Reserves near Durban and Pietermaritzburg R625.00 R1,020.00 R1,210.00
EKZN Wildlife Cluster – Access to 25 of KZN Wildlife’s Parks and Reserves in KwaZulu-Natal R655.00 R1,055.00 R1,270.00
CapeNature cluster – Access to 24 of Cape Nature’s Parks and Reserves in the Western Cape R625.00 R1,020.00 R1,220.00
Swaziland’s Big Game Parks Cluster –
Access to Big Game Parks of Swaziland’s 3 Parks
R515.00 R845.00 R1,035.00
International All Parks Cluster
Access to 80+ Parks and Reserves included in the SANParks, Msinsi, EKZNWildlife, Cape Nature and Swazi Clusters Parks.
R3,265.00 R5,100.00 R6,100.00

 

Pros and cons of Wild Card membership

Pros

Cons

Wild Card members get one year’s unlimited access to Wild Conservation Partner Parks, Only mentioned members of couples or family membership can use the benefit
Wild Card membership provides extensive savings for frequent visitors to national parks International visitors cannot purchase individual local cluster cards
Families can save a lot of money on annual holidays in national parks Persons on work permits or residence permits for other SADC states, are not accepted for local cluster memberships.
SADC residents can also purchase Local Cluster Cards
The couple’s card is for any two adults, not only for married couples

 

FAQs

 

Can only adults by individual membership?

Yes, this card can only be purchased for an adult (anyone older than 18 years), with a valid ID number for South Africans or Passport for SADC or International members.

 

Do I have to be married to get a card for couples?

No, the couple card is for any two specific people, even if there isn’t any legal connection between them. It can be two friends, siblings or romantic partners. Both parties must however be listed with their ID or passport numbers. The card can also be owned by one adult and one child.

 

How many people may be added to a Family Card?

The Family card allows for a maximum of seven people, which could be a maximum of two adults and five children or one adult and six children.

 

Can a foreigner living in South Africa purchase a Wild Card for locals?

Yes, but only if he or she have proof of South African permanent or temporary residency or a work permit (valid for more than six months). The person must show this proof whenever he or she wishes to access one of the partner parks. If a person doesn’t have South African residency or is from a SADC country, he or she has to purchase an International Wild Card.

 

Can SADC residents purchase Local Cluster Cards?

Yes, citizens of SADC countries qualify for the same benefits as South African residents but must provide valid proof of citizenship when they apply for a Local Cluster Card. They will also be required to show this proof whenever they wish to access one of the partner parks. Work permits or residence permits for other SADC states are not accepted.

 

Can you get the Couple Card for locals if one partner is a foreigner with an international passport but no residency? 

No, if one partner has no SA residence or work permit, the only option would be to purchase a South African Individual Wild Card for yourself, an International Wild Card for your partner or an International Couple Card.

 

Do pensioners get discount on Wild Cards?

No, pensioners do not get discounts on Wild Cards but SANParks and CapeNature offer up to 40% discount on selected accommodation for pensioners (60 years and older) during certain periods, as announced on the official SANParks website.

 

Are Lifetime Wild Cards still valid?

Lifetime Wild Cards were issued before 20 October 2010 to pensioners, but not anymore. They will be honoured but no new Lifetime Cards are issued currently. Other options for loyal pensioners exist.

 

What is the difference between the Table Mountain National Park Green Card and a Wild Card?

Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has its own My Green Card, available only to Cape Town residents. This card operates separately from the Wild Card and has its own rules and requirements.

 

Can you use your ID alone to gain entry to parks?

No, you won’t gain access to a park but be required to also show either your Wild Card, your receipt or your Confirmation Letter.

 

What do I need to access KZN Wildlife and Cape Nature partner parks?

You will need your Wild Card confirmation letter and proof of identity for access as some properties do not have the technology to validate the physical cards.

 

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